Here’s something different…
I can’t say I think a lot about reinstating the draft in the US. My opinions on the subject aren’t very strong ones, nor have I thought them through very thoroughly. But I’ll give my opinion quickly, then stand back and let Brad Bull comment on his opinion, since it came up in a conversation around another post.
I don’t think we should reinstate the draft. I like the all-volunteer army. If it becomes compulsory, doesn’t that degrade the moral and motivation of the troops … by definition? And if people don’t want to be there (not that it’s a picnic to be there now, but this would make it worse), wouldn’t that make soldiers harder to train, less professional, more prone to deserting, etc?
Okay, Brad, take it away … what do you think?
The military has always been vastly overrepresented by the poor, this will never change. For most people who grow up in meager means this is the best way to get a foot hold and better themselves.
Political aside, when we had a draft the threat of dying for your country extended to everyone (in theory) and for those who weaseled their way out, a clear record of their actions existed. So you could clearly see if a politician could walk the walk or if they were a draft dodger (won’t name names, but you know who I am refering to.)
It is the responsibility of every citizen to defend this country, and when the middle and upper class feel that directly the decision to go to war becomes far more diffficult. I am saying that the government is too eager to go to war because they have no fear of personal loss. This is not to say that no war is justified, but if it is any citizen fatality (rich or poor) would be justified.
Would your feeling for the current war change if your son or brother was over there? Yes-war is not justified, No-cause is just.
Just because the military is all volunteer does not mean their lives are more expendable. It does not mean you no longer have desertion. It does not mean you have higher morale.
I may post more later, but I have to run.
The more I think about it, I would totally support a German style of mandatory service. When you turn 18 (and are healthy w/ no dependants) you have the choice of 1 year military service or 2 years of civil service. I feel this in no way degrades our capitalist system, but encourages giving back to the country. As they say, freedom isn’t free.
An interesting argument, Brad. I’m not sure how I feel one way or the other, to be honest. I agree with your statements that defending our country should be the responsibility of every citizen. I’d even extend that responsibility to cover non-citizens who enjoy the benefits of being here. I also agree with the notion that a draft could help ground decisions about when to go to war. If there’s a chance that a person or one of that person’s loved ones might be directly impacted, many people would think differently (or at least ask a lot more questions) about war decisions. True.
My only question/concern is about what happens to the volunteer army. If you’re filling the military ranks with individuals from non-military jobs, probably against their will, what happens to those who WANT to be in the military? You said yourself that the military offers an avenue for the poor to “better themselves”. Would that opportunity still exist? Also, would a conscripted/drafted army be as well-trained and effective as the “professional” army we have today?
I think our comments overlapped, Brad. Malaysia does the same thing with mandatory military service upon reaching a certain age. I don’t think it’s a bad system.
In the draft era, people still had the option of volunteering for the military. Those who volunteered got to choose their occupation and training, as long as they were qualified. When you are drafted the military tells you what you are going to do. And yes, a drafted army would recieve the same training and be as effective as a volunteer army. Whether you volunteered or were drafted no one wants to see combat (with a few morbid exceptions). History has shown us that when you experience combat (I have not) your reaction will be unique. Many vietnam heros were drafted and many deserters volunteered.
If you want training in medical, foreign language, engineering, truck driving, etc. the military is a great place for volunteers.
I disagree with non-citizens being drafted unless they are awarded citizenship at the end of basic training.
How does the math work? If you’re still enlisting the same number of volunteers plus you’re drafting non-volunteers, are you left with a bloated military (which in my mind equates to a military looking for a fight). Are you advocating expanding the size of the military?
Are you referring to the draft or mandatory service? You do not have a draft unless you are in a conflict. I am all for bloating the military when we are at war, however, I am also for paying for it. I would guess that drafted warriors are more likely to leave after their term of service instead of making a career out of the military. A few gun-toting 18 yr olds are much, much cheaper than a 40 yr old who has been in for 20 yrs.
Now, if only we could think of some open ended war we could declare to keep people scared and spend whatever we want. One with loosely defined goals and no specific enemy. Drugs? Terror?
I’m sure that’s exactly Bush’s plan… Make up the war on terror. How exactly has that been helping him or the Republicans? I’m amazed you don’t think terrorism is a threat to us.